Garza's Better Balls Win Battle of the Rehabbers

Matt Garza looked all tuned up and ready to go tonight at Principal Park as he tossed six scoreless innings that required only 75 pitches by my count. Maybe it was the balls. More on those later. He also fielded his one chance with the glove flawlessly.


Both of the hits Garza allowed, one of them a ringing single off the right-field wall, came in the 2nd, an inning that ended on a 4-6-3 double play. From that point until there were two down in the 6th he retired 12 straight before hitting the next to last batter he faced.


All told he fanned six, two looking; four trying, and walked no one. By innings his pitch counts were 13, 18, 11, 11, 14 and 8. Ten days ago he topped out at 94 in the velocity department. Tonight he hit 96 once and 95 several times. I found no fault in his performance but when he made his way out of the box toward 1st at a pace that can most charitably be described as pedestrian after swatting a routine grounder a rather tubby old guy not far from me in the stands really let him have it, loudly labeling him a “lollygagger.” No one else held that against him. When he made his way from the dugout to the clubhouse between the 6th and 7th innings most of the fans rose and applauded in appreciation of the work he was sent here to do as he passed by, tipping his cap and pausing to sign one autograph along the way.


Now, back to the balls. 


One of Garza’s 75 pitches was fouled over the roof into the parking lot. My vantage point and the ballpark’s design permitted me to track the ball and I noticed that no one went in pursuit of it. At inning’s end I dashed out and found it next to a motorcycle. When I picked it up I saw that it wasn’t a PCL ball; it was an official major leaguer. A couple frames later I located a man who’d stepped out for a smoke and retrieved another of Garza’s offerings that was fouled out of play. It too was a Bud Selig autographed model. Then, as I was leaving after Garza was through, another ball came bouncing along as I was getting into my car. A mother snagged it for her little boy and I asked them if I could have a look at it. Brooks Raley was now pitching in relief and, sure enough, this souvenir was the regular PCL equipment. Do you suppose it was by Garza’s request that MLB balls were furnished for him or were they ordered by higher authorities’? And since his mound opponent was fellow rehabber Clayton Richard, do you think the same courtesy was afforded him? 


Besides Garza, who left with a 1-0 lead by the way, the other aspect of the game I paid particular attention to were the at-bats of the now bearded Brett Jackson. All told, in the three I witnessed he saw 14 pitches and swung at 12 of them while striking out twice and flying to the warning track in center.


That is all...



MIKE: MLB rehab pitchers always get to use MLB baseballs when they pitch in a minor league game, even at Extended Spring Training. Healthy MLB pitchers use MLB baseballs when they pitch in a Minor League Spring Training game, too. You'll notice the home plate umpire changing out his baseballs every half-inning (unless two MLB pitchers are pitching against each other in the same minor league game).

However, MLB position players rehabbing in a minor league game or playing in a Minor League Spring Training game have to hit minor league baseballs.

The main difference between MLB baseballs and minor league baseballs is the threading of the seams. Not a lot of difference, but MLB pitchers can tell one from the other.

Why would you want the threading on the balls to be different?

then maybe the greater story is that when he pitched here on the 6th the balls he was using, at least in the 1st inning that day, were PCL's...otherwise, as that Gilda Radner character used to say on SNL, 'never mind...'

#2 Mark Appel

"Analysis: This is Appel or Gray, assuming one of them goes first, with Appel the preference. The Cubs are in the catbird seat in this draft -- they don't have to pay the premium that comes with picking first overall but are guaranteed to get one of the two huge arms in the class."

"Nick D. (Atlanta)- Barring injury, is there any chance the Cubs reach outside of Gray and Appel at #2?

Klaw - I believe there is zero chance of that."

Remember Albert Almora? The Cubs’ first-round pick last June is almost all the way back after breaking his hamate bone in mid-March. He’s been playing center field and hitting in extended spring games in Arizona and should soon be assigned to the low-A Kane County Cougars. There’s no sign yet of Junior Lake, who suffered a stress fracture to the top rib on his right side in mid-March. Outfielder Reggie Golden, a second-round pick in 2010 recovering from two torn ligaments in his left knee, appears close to completing his recovery. He has a slash line of .250/.438/.470 in extended spring, according to “Arizona Phil’’ of The Cub Reporter, who tracks these things.

wow...Arizona Phil's universe intersects with Wrong-way Phil Rogers!

per Roto...

The Cubs will wait to see how Matt Garza (lat) feels and how his bullpen session goes Saturday before they make a decision about activating him.
Garza declared himself ready to rejoin the Cubs' rotation after six scoreless innings during Thursday's rehab start. It's probably just a formality at this point before the team announces that he'll rejoin the rotation next week. Carlos Villanueva is the likeliest candidate to be demoted to the bullpen.

Baseball America Hot Sheet:
Christian Villaneuva, 3b, Cubs
Team: Double-A Tennessee (Southern)
Age: 21
Why He’s Here: .435/.500/.739 (10-for-23), 3 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, 1 BB, 6 SO, 1-for-2 SB

With Adrian Beltre on their big league roster and Mike Olt dominating in the upper levels of the minors last year, it made sense for the Rangers to include Villanueva in last summer’s trade to acquire Ryan Dempster. Villanueva got off to a sluggish start, but this past week has been better. He probably won’t see time in the big leagues this year, but he has a chance to be a contributor in Chicago by 2014.

Hot Sheet Chat:
Ryan (Chicago): Does Christian Villaneuva have enough power to be an everyday 3rd baseman in the Bigs?

Matt Eddy: That will be the determining factor. Scouts see Villanueva as being right on the borderline now between first- and second-division in the HR department. His glove will allow him ample time to develop his power approach at Triple-A if that’s what stands in his way of playing in the bigs.

Recent comments

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  • I'm guessing 3/30 and all the two foot long hot dogs you can eat didn't work

  • Yes! In a 12-way tie for first!

  • Shit.

    Blew my prediction! I had them signing Zimmerman and trading for another arm.

  • Damn wanted Zimmermann

  • Yeah, this market. Remember when Ted Lilly signed a 4/$40m with the Cubs? It was like "Well, I guess if you can throw a ball, that's what the 3 and 4 starters are all getting." I'm glad I'm not a GM. Of course, they're spending our money...

  • in this market that seems like a decent deal relative to the market.

    given that d.price will probably get 30m-ish a year, 22m for 29yo zimm doesn't seem bad. i wouldn't complain about him suiting up for the cubs. one less option gone...

  • Zimmermann 5/$110m with Tigers. Youch.

    And the updated predications page:

  • Cubs 3B Christian Villanueva (who is out of minor league options) is hitting 358/464/500 for Obregon in the Mexican Pacific League (LMP), and is leading the LMP in OBP, is second in BAvg and walks, is seventh in SLG, and is tied for 8th in HR. He also has struck out only 16 times in 175 PA. 

  • CTSteve, thanks for spelling Zimmermann correctly. We don't need another first baseman.

  • The media has linked Cueto and the Cubs approximately zero times this winter. I'm thinking there's just not a lot of interest there on the Cubs' part. It seems unlikely.

    If the Cubs miss on Price, Grienke, and Zimmerman, they will aim for a mid-rotation starter via free agency or trade. However, I think this scenario also significantly boosts the odds that they extend Arrieta.

  • The Tigers are going after Zimmermann and the Red Sox will be throwing money at Price. Bringing Cueto back to the NL with the Cubs is looking like a serious possibility. Thoughts?

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe in the financial impact to the Red Sox for not signing Jon Lester early in the free agent process:

    It will be interesting to ultimately add up the cost of letting Jon Lester go.

    The Red Sox botched up their negotiations with Lester in during spring training of 2014, making an initial offer of $70 million that was roughly $40 million short of what it should have been. Talks broke down and Lester was traded in July.

  •'re flip-flopping again?!

    Is this legal? What is the rule here on opining definitively and then changing your mind?

    I am not only surprised at your declaration, but Cutler's better 2015 showing. I don't get it - he went through Martz, Turner, Trestman, Kromer, and now Gase...and he is still here! And. he'll be here mext year too.

  • Happ signs w Jays

    Morsi saying Price won't be a Jay

  • needs more d.beeler and e.jokisch

  • As an Illinois tax payer I appreciate what they r doing